Medellin police have confirmed 76 people died when a plane carrying Brazilian football club Chapecoense crashed in Colombia.
The Serie A side were scheduled to play the first leg of the Copa Sudamericana final against Atletico Nacional at Medellin’s Estadio Atanasio Girardot on Wednesday.
But the plane, carrying 72 passengers and nine crew, crashed en route from Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, coming down in Cerro Gordo in the municipality of La Union.
Authorities reported the plane declared an emergency at 22:00 local time (03:00 GMT) with apparent power failures.
“Six people were rescued alive, but unfortunately one died. The rest of the occupants unfortunately died. The tragic toll is 76 victims,” regional police commander Jose Gerardo Acevedo told reporters.
Players Alan Ruschel and Jakson Ragnar Follmann and flight attendant Ximena Suarez are among the survivors, according to Colombia’s civil aviation authority.
In a post on the club’s official Facebook page, Chapecoense said: “Given the conflicting reports emerging from different journalistic sources concerning the crash of the plane carrying the Chapecoense players, the Chapecoense football association through it vice-president, Ivan Tozzo, is refraining from comment and awaiting official announcements from the Colombian air authorities.
“May God be with our athletes, leaders, journalists and the other guests who are with the delegation.”
CONMEBOL, the South American football confederation, has suspended “all activities” until further notice.
In a statement, the Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) said: “CBF expresses its dismay at the news coming from Colombia, reporting an accident with the plane carrying the Chapecoense delegation, journalists and guests, on their way to the first game of the South American Cup final.
“We are in contact with CONMEBOL, local authorities and representatives of the clubs in search of more information, before any possible measures regarding the progress of Brazilian football.
“We express our solidarity and we direct our prayers to the passengers and crew of the flight.”
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